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InfoQ Homepage News Mozilla Prism 0.9 Released

Mozilla Prism 0.9 Released

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Mozilla Prism 0.9 was released last month. Prism is a Single Site Browser (SSB), which aims to move applications from the browser to the desktop, while still using browser based technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, etc).

The release comes with a number of improvements, including a Firefox 3 extension. Mark Finkle details this update:
The big news for this release is Prism for Firefox, a full blown Prism and a Firefox extension all in one. This means that you can now easily “make” web applications directly from Firefox. In addition, Prism now uses Firefox as its runtime, so you don’t need to download the XULRunner runtime. Yes, I have mentioned in the past that Firefox 3 will be able to run XUL applications. Here are some things the extension can do:
  • Allow you to manually convert a website into a Prism-ified web application.
  • Detect a web application bundle embedded on a website and prompt the user to install it.
The standalone version of Prism is still available.
Matthew Gertner ’s has a post on TechCrunch discussing Prism and the other competitors and sister technologies, like Adobe AIR and Google Gears. He provides a solid overview of the current technologies and space. In addition, he discusses features that go-hand as the desktop merges with traditional browser applications, like offline support.
Offline functionality is key piece of the site-specific browser puzzle. Internet connectivity may one day be ubiquitous, but in the meantime web apps need to function offline if they are to compete with their desktop brethren. HTML 5 includes a specification for offline web apps that is already supported by Safari 3.1 and Firefox 3. Gears is in many ways a direct competitor, although one of the HTML 5 editors, Ian Hickson, works for Google, and it is quite plausible that Gears will be adapted to support the specification in the future. Offline functionality is not inherently linked to site-specific browsers, but together the two form a powerful combination.
You can read more about the release and Prism at: http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/03/major-update-to-prism-first-prototype-of-browser-integration/.

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